Moria Chappell is a world-renowned performance artist, dance instructor, ancient dance researcher, artistic director, and costume designer who specializes in Tribal Fusion Belly Dance, Temple Dance, and Indian Odissi Classical Dance. She has performed, taught, and researched ancient dance in 46 countries over her 20-year dance career.


Known for her archetypal approach to performance craft, her style is both feminine and fierce, ancient and modern, sacred and strange.


A popular and sought after teacher, Moria has developed a unique methodology and approach to belly dance control, the foundation of which is her trademark teaching style: Muscular Belly Dance Technique (MBDT).  Both feminine and fierce, MBDT synthesizes the  intensity and precision that epitomizes Tribal Fusion isolation and individualism. 

A Tribal Fusion belly dancer since 2001, Moria became a principle dancer, and subsequently the Artistic Director, for the world famous Bellydance Superstars from 2005-2015.  She is heralded as an innovator in choreography, costume and makeup design, and as a creator of the newly formed fusion-art that focuses on Temple and Sacred Arts dance.

Moria Chappell was the first to fuse and fully choreograph Odissi Indian Temple Dance with Tribal Fusion Belly Dance while touring with The Bellydance Superstars in 2008.


After lengthy, biannual stays in India, Moria has spent the

last decade

researching world temple dances by traveling to countries along the ancient trade routes that connected Asia and the Indonesian and Polynesian islands with India, North Africa and Mesopotamia over 5,000 years ago.  Finding seed movements that are linguistic tags connecting an ancestry of ancient dances going back millennia, her performances and trademark style represent a conversation of ancient temple dance technique as it has survived through the ages. 

The diaspora of movement from which she selects and connects ancient dance via modern Muscular Belly Dance Technique creates innovation in movement and increases the

palette for the Tribal Fusion Genre.  Her field of research and study include Tribal Fusion Belly Dance, Odissi Indian Temple Dance, Javanese Solo Dance, Cambodian and Chinese Apsara Dance, Chinese Dai and Thai Peacock Dance, Hula and Polynesian Dance, Tibetan and Nepalese Tantric Dance, North African and Middle Eastern Belly Dance, Spanish Flamenco, and Balkan-style movements.


Moria is currently writing a book on the 64 Yoginis Tantric Temple with her mother Dahna Koth, a lifelong

researcher of world mythology and ritual theatre.  Exploring the notion that temple dances from around the globe at one time shared a common ancestral mode of goddess worship out of which belly dance, temple dance, and sacred movement were born, this book reveals hidden and lost symbolic meanings surrounding the Yoginis' poses, hair styles, order of position, weapons, jewelry, animal associations, and potential movement.  Publication is scheduled for 2018.

While Moria Chappell is featured in multiple performance and instructional DVDs via The Bellydance Superstars, her most current work will be available via online classes beginning mid 2017.



Moria recently created two full length, theatrical belly dance fusion shows Nocturnal and Incantation.  They featured a cast of fellow Bellydance Superstars core dancers and devoted belly dance colleagues from around the globe with whom she collaborated.


Incantation was accompanied by operatic vocals and a 10-piece live Balkan Band; both shows represent a first of their kind in theatrical belly dance performance.

Apart from her bellydance pursuits, Moria Chappell is a current member of Urvasi Dance Ensemble, an Odissi Indian Classical Temple Dance troupe founded and directed by Guru Ratna Roy who is a professor and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient in the field of preservation and continuation of the Mahari style of Odissi Classical Indian Dance. 

Moria performing with Urvasi Dance Company, directed by Ratna Roy

Moria moved to Washington State in 2010 to continue the training and development of her Classical Odissi Indian Temple Dance technique and knowledge with Dr. Ratna Roy exclusively. 

A powerful and beautiful women’s dance tradition, the Mahari style of Odissi dance was crushed in the 20th century. Characterized by the blending of spirituality and sensuousness as well as the extremely lasya (meaning "supremely graceful and smooth") upper torso movement, Mahari dance themes are woman-centered, whether it be the Mother Goddess herself or famous women from the epics of India.  Dr. Ratna Roy is one of the few teachers still alive to have studied directly under the Maharis themselves and remained exclusively in the tradition of the Maharis throughout her ongoing career via her teacher, Adiguru Pankaj Charan Das.

Moria at the Red Salt Mine in Gujarat, India

Photographers: Scott Belding, Dahna Koth,

Marja Eloheimo, Devansh Jhaveri

"Dance is the hidden language of the soul."

~ Martha Graham







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